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Illegal Miners Targets Of Proposed Ban, Not Legitimate Operators – MMSD 

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Artisanal miners
Artisanal miners

The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) has clarified that the proposed banning of motorcycle and mining activities being considered by the nation’s Security Council to tackle insecurity targets illegal miners, not legitimate operators.

A statement by the ministry’s director of press and public relations, Etore Efiom Thomas made available to journalists at the weekend, pointed out that the decision by the Federal Government to ban commercial motorcycle operators and illegal mining activities is part of the government’s efforts to enhance safety and security of the citizenry.

According to the statement, efforts are being intensified against illegal mining activities across the country as this has been established to have connections with banditry and kidnapping.

“The attention of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) has been drawn to media reports on the Federal Government’s proposed ban on motorcycles and mining activities in various mining sites as part of its effort towards curbing terrorism and ensuring stability and security in the country.

“For purposes of clarity, mineral resources remain on the Exclusive Legislative list as enshrined in the 1999 constitution (as amended). Section 44(3) states, ‘The entire property in and control of all minerals, mineral oils and natural gas in, under or upon any land in Nigeria or in, under or upon the territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone of Nigeria shall vest in the government of the federation and shall be managed in such manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly’. Likewise, the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act of 2007 is very clear on the issue of minerals ownership and exploitation – Section 1(1) ‘The entire property in and control of all Mineral Resources in, under or upon any land in Nigeria, its contiguous continental shelf and all rivers, streams and water courses throughout Nigeria, any area covered by its territorial waters or constituency and the Exclusive Economic Zone is and shall be vested in the government of the federation for and on behalf of the people of Nigeria’.”

It further said that it was in line with this and other issues that the ministry deemed it necessary to clarify that the measures being considered by the Security Council are targeted to cut off sources of funding and logistics, which terrorists have leveraged to execute their nefarious activities, although the government is yet to decide on the matter.

“To this end, the ministry wishes to inform the public that for the safety and security of the country, efforts are being intensified against illegal mining activities across the country as this has been established to have connections with banditry and kidnapping. The additional measures that may be taken are, therefore, targeted at the activities of illegal miners and not legitimate operators in the sector.

“The ministry, therefore, advises duly registered miners to continue with their operations, while adhering to safe mining protocols and ensuring that security is given priority in their various sites,” it added.

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